In response to the West's aggressions against it, the Russian Federation should set up military bases in Latin America. For obvious reasons, Venezuela would be an ideal location. I am sure this has been discussed by the Kremlin. And I'm sure that if such a project does come to fruition, most of Latin America will be delighted.
Venezuela to buy Russian weaponry worth $2 bln - paper
Venezuela is planning to conclude several contracts with Russia next month on the purchase of military equipment worth at least $2 billion, a leading Russian business daily said on Monday. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is expected to pay an official visit to Moscow at the end of May to conclude the necessary agreements with Russia's new President Dmitry Medvedev, who earlier pledged to maintain close military cooperation with Caracas, the Kommersant newspaper reported. Oil-rich Venezuela is a major purchaser of Russian weapons and hardware. In 2005-2006, Venezuela ordered weaponry from Russia worth $3.4 billion, including 24 Su-30MK2V Flanker fighters, Tor-M1 air defense missile systems, Mi-17B multi-role helicopters, Mi-35 Hind E attack helicopters and Mi-26 Halo heavy transport helicopters. Russia has repeatedly stated that it will actively participate in the modernization of the Venezuelan armed forces until 2013. Kommersant said negotiations were underway on the purchase of 10 Il-76 Candid military transport planes and two Il-78-MK aerial tankers for the Venezuelan Air Force. The contract will be worth a total of $600 million. Deliveries will be completed next year. The aircraft will replace six outdated American Lockheed C-130H Hercules transport planes and two Boeing 707-320C aerial tankers. Venezuela and Russia have also agreed on the purchase of four Kilo-class Project 636 diesel submarines. The terms of the deal, estimated at $1.2 billion, were negotiated late last year. The Project 636 submarine is designed for anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface-ship warfare, and also for general reconnaissance and patrol missions. It is considered to be one of the quietest diesel submarines in the world. In addition, Caracas has expressed an interest in purchasing Mi-28NE Night Hunter attack helicopters. Kommersant said Venezuela may buy at least 10 Night Hunters for a total of $200 million, with delivery beginning in the second half of 2009. The advanced Mi-28N helicopters were inducted into the Russian Air Force last September. The first four aircraft will join the Russian Air Force in 2009 after additional testing.
Venezuela’s Chavez plans to bury old empire of USA
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez harshly criticized the US administration again after the unauthorized passing of the USS George Washington along the coast of the Latin American country. Chavez promised to bury the USA in the 21st century. “When Americans appear near our shores with their navy, the George Washington aircraft carrier, one should not forget that it happens at the time when we together with Brazil are creating the Defense Council of South America,” Chavez said in a speech that was broadcast by all TV and radio channels of Venezuela. “In this century we will bury the old empire of the USA and will live with the American nation like with a brotherly nation, because over 40 million of its citizens live below the poverty line,” the Venezuelan leader said. Chavez also said that Latin America entered the new era that was marked with the creation of a bloc of leftist forces – Argentina, Bolivia, Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Chile and Brazil. “There are two women standing behind us: Cristina Kirchner in Argentina and Michelle Bachelet in Chile. We have in our bloc a worker from Brazil – Lula – and three revolutionaries – Fidel and Raul in Cuba and Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua. There is a soldier from Venezuela there too (Hugo Chavez). Now with the victory of a former bishop at the presidential election in Paraguay, we have a priest in our ranks,” Chavez said. The rhetoric between Chavez and Bush has been hostile. In response to the Bush administrations anti Chavez rhetoric (he has been called a tyrant, populist dictator and drug trafficker), Chavez once referred to U.S. President George W. Bush as a pendejo (asshole), and refers to him as Mister Danger. In a later speech, he made personal remarks regarding Condoleezza Rice, referring to her as a "complete illiterate" when it comes to comprehending Latin America. On September 20, 2006 Chávez called Bush "the devil". After Hurricane Katrina battered the United States’ Gulf Coast in late 2005, the Chavez administration was the first foreign government to offer aid to the devastated regions. The Bush administration opted to refuse this aid. Later during the winter of 2005, various officials in the Northeastern United States signed an agreement with Venezuela to provide discounted heating oil to low income families.
Russian arms help Chavez launch guerrilla warfare against USA
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has urged soldiers to prepare for a guerrilla-style war against the United States. He said the US government is using psychological and economic warfare as part of an unconventional campaign aimed at derailing his government. Dressed in olive green fatigues and a red beret, Chavez spoke yesterday inside Tiuna Fort – Venezuela’s military nerve-centre – before hundreds of uniformed soldiers standing alongside armoured vehicles and tanks decorated with banners reading: “Fatherland, Socialism, or Death! We will triumph!” “We must continue developing the resistance war, that’s the anti-imperialist weapon. We must think and prepare for the resistance war everyday,” said Chavez, who has repeatedly warned that American soldiers could invade Venezuela to seize control of the South American nation’s immense oil reserves. US officials reject claims that Washington is considering a military attack. But the US government has expressed concern over what it perceives as a significant arms built-up here, irishexaminer.com reports. Under Chavez, Venezuela has recently purchased some $3 billion worth of arms from Russia, including 53 military helicopters, 100,000 Kalashnikov rifles, 24 SU-30 Sukhoi fighter jets. Last week, Chavez said he is considering arms purchases, including submarines and a missile-equipped air defense system, as he prepares for a tour of Russia, Belarus and Iran. “We are strengthening Venezuela's military power precisely to avoid imperial aggressions and assure peace, not to attack anybody,” he said Sunday. Opposition leader Julio Borges condemned the president's interest in acquiring weapons, saying the government should focus on reducing violent crime in Venezuela, which has one of the highest homicide rates in Latin America, the AP reports. Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez travels this week to Iran, Russia and Belarus -- all countries which have found themselves at loggerheads recently with the United States, his longtime nemesis. Chavez departs Tuesday for his week-long tour, from June 26 to July 3, defiantly insisting that he will purchase Russian submarines and possibly an air defense system from Belarus, despite vocal objections from Washington. Chavez, who views himself as Bush's arch-enemy, will be cultivating relations with each of the regimes, in an apparent bid to drive an even deeper wedge with between the United States and its adversaries. Each of the countries on Chavez's itinerary has locked horns with Washington in recent weeks over conflicts that have yet to be resolved. Chavez has said he hopes to put the "finishing touches" on an agreement to purchase from Belarus an integrated air defense system with a 200-300-kilometer range (125-200 miles). Earlier this month, US President George W. Bush renewed sanctions against hard-line Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko and nine others deemed obstacles to democracy in Belarus.
In related news:
Iran's influence in Latin America worries U.S.
Iran is making allies in Latin America to counter Washington's traditional influence in the region and could use them to threaten U.S. security, a top U.S. diplomat said on Wednesday. "We are worried that in the event of a conflict with Iran, that it would attempt to use its presence in the region to conduct such activities against us," Thomas Shannon, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for the Western Hemisphere, told Reuters. Left-wing governments in Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua and Bolivia have all become allies of Iran in recent years, and other countries in Latin America have diplomatic ties with the Islamic republic. Shannon said Iran wants to ease its international isolation by showing it is able to win friends in Latin America, which has been historically in the United States' "sphere of influence". Washington accuses Iran of supporting terrorist groups and secretly trying to produce nuclear bombs, and is concerned by its courting of allies in Latin America. Shannon urged the region's governments to respect U.N.-backed sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program and recalled accusations that Iran was involved in attacks on the Israeli embassy and a Jewish community center in Argentina's capital Buenos Aires during the 1990s. "We urge our friends and partners in the region to be vigilant," he said, adding that those attacks show Iran is able "to conduct terrorist operations within the Americas". Iran has denied any involvement in the Buenos Aires attacks, which killed well over 100 people.
US Navy resurrects Fourth Fleet to police Latin America
Washington announced at the end of last month that it is resurrecting the long-ago moth-balled Fourth Fleet to reassert US power in the Caribbean and Latin America. Created at the time of World War II to combat German submarines attacking merchant shipping convoys in the South Atlantic, the Fourth Fleet was seen as no longer necessary after the Second World War and was disbanded in 1950. The Pentagon’s a statement on the revival of the fleet gave a far vaguer indication of its new duties, saying it would “conduct varying missions including a range of contingency operations, counter narco-terrorism, and theater security cooperation activities.” “Rear Admiral James Stevenson, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command, said the re-establishment of the Fourth Fleet will send a message to the entire region, not just Venezuela,” AHN news reported. The “message” began to be transmitted just weeks after Venezuela, Ecuador and Colombia came into sharp conflict over a border provocation caused by the Colombian military’s bombardment of an encampment of the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) guerrillas inside Ecuadorian territory.
The Fourth Fleet will begin operations on the first day of July out of the Mayport US Naval Station, a nuclear facility in the state of Florida. The fleet, which will operate as part of the Pentagon’s Southern Command, will be comprised of various ships, including aircraft carriers and submarines, and will operate from the Caribbean to the southern tip of South America. While the new naval unit does not yet possess large numbers of arms and personnel, it will be equipped and granted similar importance as the Fifth Fleet, now deployed in the Persian Gulf, and the Sixth, operating in the Mediterranean. The thrust of this decision is to give the US Navy a far broader role than it currently plays in Latin America. While Washington can point to no imminent military threat in the region, the reactivation of the Fourth Fleet has a powerful symbolic significance, indicating a return to gunboat diplomacy. It is a demonstration of US intentions to maintain absolute military dominance over the region, and in particular over those countries with large reserves of petroleum and natural gas, including those that are governed by supposed enemies of Washington, like the governments of Hugo Chávez in Venezuela and Evo Morales in Bolivia.
The central objective of the Fourth Fleet will be to further the military and political “security and stability” of the region, according to the commander of naval forces for US Southern Command, Vice Admiral James Stevenson. The fleet will “certainly bring a lot more stature to the area and increase our ability to get things done,” Stevenson told reporters. “This change increases our emphasis in the region on employing naval forces to build confidence and trust among nations through collective maritime security efforts that focus on common threats and mutual interests,” said Admiral Gary Roughead, chief of naval operations. According to the official statement issued by the Pentagon, the reactivation of the Fourth Fleet “demonstrates US commitment to regional partners,” among which Colombia stands out, given the billions of dollars of US aid granted its right-wing government to conduct the so-called “war on drugs” as well as its counterinsurgency campaign against the FARC, an organization that the US classifies as “terrorist,” on the same level as Al-Qaeda.